“Don’t take this the wrong way,” she started hesitantly, her eyes darting sideways. We had just met an hour earlier before our first indoor soccer game together.
I looked at her eagerly, expectantly, and then my eyes likewise darted sideways as I recounted a few rough and tumble encounters I had with the other team early in the game. I didn’t appreciate the unnecessary roughness that was coming against me to stop me from scoring and found myself retaliating against the girls. I proactively approached the referee in front of those girls to put an end to it because as aggressive as I play, I don’t like being pushed and shoved and I certainly don’t like pushing or shoving to protect myself either.
Knowing that my teammate was a board member for the league and had a reputation for keeping everything in order, I thought I was about to get chided.
“Where did you come from?!” she exclaimed encouragingly.
I paused, struck by the question at first, then laughed at her underlying meaning. I understood. We both giggled and exchanged some pleasantries, our backgrounds and who we’ve played for in the city, before we each packed up for the night. I went home, cleaned up, and put the game behind me, but I thought about her question all night.
“Where did you come from?” The question was like a portal to the Spirit realm. In my pause I flashed to the Word of God and my first thought for a reply was that I come from another world! My Daddy is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! That would have been a funny answer but that was what was in my heart to say.
The Word references believers as being strangers and pilgrims in this world (Hebrews 11:13), that because I believe in Jesus, because I am born again I actually don’t belong to this world – that I’m of it but not from it (John 17:16), that I was brought out of something, darkness, and into something, the marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9) again because of Jesus.
This is the concept that Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3. Nicodemus is a well-regarded teacher of the Pharisees, a group of Jewish believers. He is familiar with Jesus, His teachings and His miracles and His signs and His wonders that He’s been working, and Nicodemus wants to know more about who Jesus is and what’s going on.
Nicodemus is on the council of Pharisees who took up an agenda against Jesus. It’s ironic, but even though the Pharisees and Jews were waiting for a Savior, the one who had healing in His wings, and Jesus was demonstrating healing miracles, He wasn’t quite what they expected. Jesus wasn’t fully consistent with their own interpretations of the scriptures, His teachings disturbed the status quo of the rules of their religion, and they were afraid they were losing control over the masses of people who were eagerly following Jesus. Nicodemus couldn’t openly come to Jesus during the day, so He approached Him in the cover of darkness.
“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2 NKJV). Essentially Nicodemus is saying I see what you are doing - who are you?
If you read it again it’s more like, the healings, signs, and wonders you are performing are not from this world, so you must not be either, you must be the one we’ve been waiting for. Are you?
Nicodemus understood that what Jesus was doing was flowing from who He was and where He came from.
The Son, only begotten of God the Father (1 John 1:5).
Jesus didn’t puff Himself up. He didn’t say Duh Nicodemus, I’m the Son God. Rather He tells Nicodemus that nobody can recognize the Son unless they too are born again. That to apprehend, that to understand, that to receive who God is, we can’t come to Him in the dark of our flesh, but that we have to likewise be born again, we have to be a new creation, we have to be in the light to see the light, we have to just believe.
It is an incredibly cryptic passage, Jesus’ explanation, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8).
“Where did you come from?” My teammate asked me. She saw something a little unnatural in the way I played, something a little standout-ish in how I conducted myself on the field and she marveled wanting to know the source of my inspiration.
The wind is more than a coming or a going although it has movement and is perceptible. It is the very breath of God, The Holy Spirit, always existing, always eternal. This is the life we are born again into when by the grace of God we believe, this is the world where we have our roots. It is The Kingdom of Light, The Kingdom of the Son’s Love. Just like Abraham, this life can be our steadfast anchor, our guiding hope as we navigate the ups and downs towards fully receiving the promise in a life that isn’t really our home.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10 NKJV).
Even as he walked, stranger and pilgrim, he waited, sure and steadfast, for a City whose foundations that he could see, a heavenly Father, whose goodness was reflected in His steadfastness, and that that kingdom, that eternal reality was more real than anything the world behind him could testify.
We who have seen Jesus not just before us, but behind us, the legacy of His record that He came and that His miraculous works -the healings, signs, wonders, and resurrection, impartation of His Spirit to His followers and how they continued what He began testified of this Kingdom have all the more to hold on to and hang on to as we too walk in a world that is not our own. We do not have to walk limping and disempowered, barely hanging on for the hope before us, because we are born again. We are in the light, sons and daughters who have a new nature and a new song. We have His life in us and can walk empowered full of the strength of our heavenly home and able to impart this life to others, that they too may marvel, “Who are you?” and “Where do you come from?”
You see I wondered what my teammate saw that made her marvel and I gave it some thought. By the grace of God, I play soccer with a grit and determination that is supernatural. When I step onto the pitch my modus operandi is fully committed to scoring against the opposition. Every energy, every step, every sprint, every pass, every play is geared towards the goal. I leave nothing behind, I spare no expense, I play from my heart.
Jesus likewise when He came left nothing behind. He was beaten. He was bruised. He was whipped. He was scourged. He did not retaliate as I did during my game, by pushing back. Like a lamb led to the slaughter He was fully committed, fully accepting of the price He had to pay. And when He was dead already, when He had nothing left to give, He was pierced by the Roman sword and the last of His life flowed from His side, His blood and His water poured out cleansing and purifying us of our sins that we too may die to them and live forever with Him.
He is the shining star, the darling of heaven, the MVP of God the Father, and He gave it all for you because He Loved you. He gave it all for you to be with you and to empower you to walk your life by Faith (Galatians 2:20), full of confident expectation in His goodness, past, present, and to come. When we do so, when we keep our eyes on the city in the sky, when we walk by faith in being Loved by the Lord of all, we can’t help but fulfill the words of Jesus as a matter of being and not of doing. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Consider one more passage as we conclude, "Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with with the saints and members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). You my friend, if you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, too have your citizenship, your passport, from a whole other place than this world that is fickle, deceptive, and temporary. You are of the house of God and have all the rights and privileges of it, access to a Loving and Good Father who is able and who desires to make Himself known to you even here and now.
What does that mean? If you are facing trials, temptations, difficulties, you are able to come boldly before the throne room of grace and ask for wisdom, you are able to call on the name of the Lord in whatever you are facing, and experience His salvation and deliverance, His upholding of you, His righteousness in your life. You are able to experience Him and His benefits. This is the way, the smooth Holy Highway His word proclaims in Isaiah 35. As you continue to walk confident in where you came from and where you are going because you know whose you are, it irons out all the wrinkles of life, and you can walk on water, victorious, overcoming as He too has overcome. Ask and you will receive.
Much Love in your endeavors - may you know whose you are, where you come from, and experience the delight of answered prayers this day and always.
For Further Thought:
Where do you come from?
How much of your expectation, your hope, your mood, your outlook is based on your natural circumstances – what has happened or is happening in your life?
What would your life look like, what steps would you be taking, if you fully believed that were unconditionally loved and accepted?
What are some positive qualities and attributes that God has given you that represent His kingdom, His world, His goodness (maybe it’s your generosity or the way you love other people, maybe it’s your talent in managing money, or maybe your simple faith in God)?
What is one way you can access your privileges of God's house today?